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Adoption Blog: Familia Means Family

We Did Not Choose Transracial Adoption

Most adoptive families encounter intrusive questions that biological families don't typically have to deal with. My husband, my children, and I belong to three different races, and our family is always being asked how we came to be together. I have yet to understand why that seems to matter to strangers on the street. I think that many people have a need to "figure out" any situation that looks strange to them.

This need to categorize our family also appears to include understanding why we chose to adopt children of a different race. We have been asked all kind of questions on the subject. We've been asked if we were trying to take a social stand against racism. We've been asked if we preferred black children to white or Hispanic children. We've been asked if we could not "get one" who "looked like you." We've been asked if we thought we would wait less time if we chose a child of color. We've even been asked if our children were "cheaper," which always bothers me.

The truth is we did not choose to adopt a child of color. We simply chose to adopt a child. Race and gender were of no concern to us. In fact, when our social worker asked us if we had a preference we looked at her as if she had grown another head. We felt that a child in need of a home is a child in need of a home. We are not heroes, we are not trying to make a political statement. We were not looking for a "deal." We just wanted to be parents.

To be perfectly honest, there are adoption agencies that give people a financial break if they are willing to adopt children of color, but our agency does not; that was one of the reasons we chose it. We also knew that, if we were open to a child of any race, we would probably be matched more quickly and had a higher chance of being called about an African-American or biracial child. At the time, our agency had more African-American children available for adoption than families that were open to adopting them. And so we checked the box: "no preference" and let the chips fall where they would.

I realize and respect the fact that there are people who do specify gender, race, and age. I believe each family must make those decisions for themselves. This is simply our journey through the process of making adoption decisions.

In fairness to the child, however, we knew it was important that we make an educated decision. We would not have brought a baby of another race into our family if we knew that friends and family members would never accept him or her. The primary concern our loved ones held was the risk of raising children who would be confused about their place in the world, not feeling as if they belonged to one race or the other. We understood that concern and we made a commitment to our children and to each other that we would learn about their culture and raise them to understand and appreciate their ethnic background. We would not raise them as if they were just like us, but we would become a multicultural family that lived and moved comfortably in three cultures and two languages.

For us this has meant learning to care for Isabel's hair at home, finding ballet studios and team sport venues with a diverse group of children, seeking to form relationships with people of various races, homeschooling our children to raise them to be bilingual, talking about racial differences, and even finding a church that has a good number of transracial adoptees of all ages. We did not choose to adopt children of color but we were chosen to adopt them, and, because of it, our lives have become richer and fuller.

Related Posts on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle


This blog was well-liked over at the Adoptive Families Facebook page
Here are the comments:

Jennifer Bowman Maynard I believe God doesn’t make the distinction of who He wants in His family and who He doesn’t. He loves everyone and accepts everyone that comes to Him. Therefore, my husband and I didn’t feel it right for us to be a respecter of persons either. Whatever baby(ies) He has for us, we welcome with open arms and lots of love! smile

Nine Year Pregnancy I think parents should educate themselves regarding two things: 1) whatever their child’s culture has been—including race, orphanage culture, foster care culture, etc. and 2) the specific issues families face when adopting a child like they are adopting—be it older adoptive children issues, adopting children of a particular race, adopting special needs’ children, etc.

Honey B Love I’m white and oneday I asked my mom what if they had shown her a black baby ...she said shed just have to learn how to do black hair lol smile oddly ppl say I look like my adoptive parents (no clue how cuz I’m taller fairer with bright red hair(only one in the fam) and brown eyes(mom n dads r blue)

Nessa Senter I wish more adoptive parents looked at it like this. This couple is exactly where people should be when entering adoption, they were adopting a child, not a race. Simple concept but one that so many cannot grasp. Very proud of this couple.

Monique Bush To me it doesnt matter what races are involved. But as I had said before if you do adopt an african american child, please know how to do their hair or plan on taking them to a salon. That aside I feel that all parents should educate their children first about the LOVE of adoption. Then about all people and cultures. I enjoy all of the shows on PBS that talk about indian culture that I have NEVER heard b4. Also about mexican culture and my own african american culture that was NEVER taught in school.

Linda Konner we just chose “children” these are the ones who came to us, and I can’t imagine it any other way.

By Danielle Pennel on Friday, January 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm.

We too, have had endless comments, questions, etc., we are a transracial family.  One I seem to get often, “Your children are so blessed!”  Though I know we all have been blessed.  I usually say, we’re the ones that have been blessed.
We did not adopt, thinking let’s bless a child, we said we would like to have a family.  I can only hope we will be able to be the parents our children can look back and say, “you did alright! “
I agree with all above, well with all I can remember, since I’ve realized we are “Older, Christian, Transracial, Open & Closed Adoption Parents…” as I have joined these groups and I’m sure I could pop a few more into it!

We are a family, Mom & Dad, and 2 kids.  Side note: the journey continues with my daughters hair, that too, has been a blessing, met folks, been places and spend time with her and her hair!  Klund

By Kt. L. on Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 11:35 am.

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